Hierarchical metabolomics demonstrates substantial compositional similarity between genetically modified and conventional potato crops

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Oct 4;102(40):14458-62. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0503955102. Epub 2005 Sep 26.


There is current debate whether genetically modified (GM) plants might contain unexpected, potentially undesirable changes in overall metabolite composition. However, appropriate analytical technology and acceptable metrics of compositional similarity require development. We describe a comprehensive comparison of total metabolites in field-grown GM and conventional potato tubers using a hierarchical approach initiating with rapid metabolome "fingerprinting" to guide more detailed profiling of metabolites where significant differences are suspected. Central to this strategy are data analysis procedures able to generate validated, reproducible metrics of comparison from complex metabolome data. We show that, apart from targeted changes, these GM potatoes in this study appear substantially equivalent to traditional cultivars.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alkaloids / analysis
  • Chemistry Techniques, Analytical / methods
  • Crops, Agricultural / genetics
  • Crops, Agricultural / metabolism*
  • Fructans / analysis
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Genotype
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / genetics
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / metabolism*
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Solanum tuberosum / genetics
  • Solanum tuberosum / metabolism*
  • Trisaccharides / analysis


  • Alkaloids
  • Fructans
  • Trisaccharides
  • 1-kestose